MLB News and Notes: Cubs Gone Missing


We have reached a milestone of sorts in the baseball season, as we are now less than 10 days away from the start of the regular season. There’s a lot going on these days, so let’s catch up on the latest.

M.I.A.

The Cubs had six absences at summer camp on Monday, including manager David Ross. The club views it as a precautionary measure as they await test results, although there was a large group of players wearing masks during Monday’s workouts. The other five people who stayed away from camp other than Ross aren’t necessarily players; they were only identified as other Tier 1 employees, which includes coaches, trainers, and physical therapists.

Big Loss

St. Louis closer Jordan Hicks is the latest player to opt-out of the 2020 season. Hicks was already a question mark to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. However, Hicks has decided to sit out amidst the pandemic because he has Type 1 diabetes, making him more vulnerable to COVID-19.

If Hicks had been able to pitch, it would have been a huge lift for the St. Louis bullpen. Instead, the Cardinals are likely to utilize Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley late in games this season.

Holding Their Breath

The Twins are holding their breath a little after center fielder Byron Buxton left Monday’s intra-squad game with a foot or ankle injury. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is staying cautiously optimistic despite Buxton being carted off the field.

Injuries are nothing new for Buxton, who was once considered a can’t-miss prospect. Despite multiple stints on the IL last year, Buxton started to fulfill his potential in 2019 and looked poised for a breakout season in 2020. For now, the Twins await word and hope for good news with the season 10 days away.

Double Trouble

Things were already looking bleak for the Orioles, and they aren’t going to get much easier after losing two players to injury. Lefty Ty Blach will undergo Tommy John surgery that could sideline him until 2022, while shortstop Richie Martin will have wrist surgery that will effectively end any chance he had of playing in 2020.

Granted, Blach wasn’t likely to make the opening day roster, but the lefty would have provided valuable depth. Meanwhile, Martin was likely to be Baltimore’s top backup at multiple infield positions.

Gone

The Tigers have given an unconditional release to pitcher Zack Godley, putting him back on the free-agent market. Godley is just two years removed from winning 15 games for the Diamondbacks.

However, after a disastrous 2019 season, he had to settle for a minor-league deal with Detroit. If the Tigers don’t want him, Godley could have a hard time finding a job this season.

Going to Buffalo?

The Blue Jays have received permission to play their home games in Toronto this season, although the club has reportedly explored the possibility of playing across the border in Buffalo. Players are being required to stay in the Rogers Centre at all times while staying in the stadium’s hotel.

However, with Canada requiring a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country and the club set to play all of their road games in the U.S., the players have little choice. The caveat with Buffalo is that the team wouldn’t have major league facilities. Nevertheless, the club is exploring that as an option.

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